Have you ever had a moment when you thought to yourself, “I don’t think I could have been any clearer?” If you have, know that you are normal. Every human being is dynamically different in how they communicate. This is a result from how we were raised, life experience, and culture.
So, let’s start with the basics and work on becoming a more effective communicator!
Effective communication is a fundamental element of every relationship, in both your personal and professional life. It’s your ability to have a two-way dialogue, between you and another person, to express thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When you communicate openly and honestly, you are naturally building the foundation of trust in your relationship.
Our goal is to become an effective communicator that will help us in building strong and healthy relationships. The question becomes how do you effectively communicate with so many variables and personalities to contend with?
Communication begins with empathy, a component of emotional intelligence. It is defined as having the ability to share, understand and respond appropriately to the feelings of others. Our brains are hardwired to experience emotion and empathy is the direct connection to feeling understood. When you feel understood, you feel heard.
Here are a few tips, along with incorporating empathy, that will help to ensure you are communicating in the most meaningful way.
Acknowledge & Validate
Always acknowledge the person you are speaking with by giving eye-contact, a simple head nod or verbal cue. Once they have spoken, validate that you’ve heard them. This can be done by paraphrasing what’s been said or by saying, “it’s understandable.” This doesn’t mean you are agreeing with what is being said rather it’s a simple gesture to show care, understand,and respect what they are sharing.
Respect is powerful and can defusean incredibly tense conversation. As you acknowledge and move to validate the person whom you are talking with, remain open to what they will share. Your reaction will show support without having to agree.
Be interested to be interesting! Being an active listener means paying attention to the small details. Most of us talk about 120 words a minute, we think at a speed of 500 words a minute. There is a lot of time for our minds to wander. Stay focused. Your body language, questions and drill down questions will demonstrate you are listening and that you care. Make it count!
Ask Open-ended Questions
This is a great technique to use for effective communication. Open-ended questions elicit dialogue. They can’t beanswered with a “yes” or “no” and require the person to reveal more.Seek to understand then be understood through your conversation. Habit 5 by Steven Covey. Listen to what is being said and follow up with questions that dig deeper to truly understanding them.
Observe Body Language
Body language can say things that you don’t intend to convey while having a conversation. As a matter of fact, according to UCLA psychologist, Dr. Mehrabian, 55%of how we communicate is through body language, 38% is through tone and emphasis while 7% is through verbal word choice. So, practice self-awareness and positively direct your body language to match your intentions. It is vital to clearly communicate your message and gain trust.
If you are not communicating in person and are using a mobile device or digital platform, the universal language of emoji’s, capital letters and the use of words is pivotal in ensuring the clarity of your message. Get clarity on what is being said and analyzethe whole picture before hitting “send”. With no body language to interpret, the intonation and words are all you have!
In everything you do, behonest and open in your communication. This will build trust in your words and actions. By sharing your views in a respectful manner, you are living authentically and connecting with others in a genuine way. Use good judgment.
How we communicate and convey information is vital in building strong, healthy, and long-lasting relationships. Simply differentiate yourself by how you show up, starting with how you choose to effectively communicate. Having consideration in a verbal exchange can be one of biggest differences you can make in how you present yourself and in how you make people feel.
Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient of effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. Stephen Covey